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Redskins rookie RB practicing at less than 100 percent

Redskins rookie RB practicing at less than 100 percent

Speed kills. That's the saying around football, anyway, highlighting that true elite speed is hard to find, and harder to defend. Redskins seventh-round rookie running back Keith Marshall is one of the players that has such speed, but on Saturday at rookie minicamp, it wasn't exactly on display.

"He tweaked his hammy a little bit yesterday afternoon, so he wasn’t quite himself," Washington coach Jay Gruden said Saturday. "But yesterday he ran pretty well."

An intriguing prospect, Marshall played college football at theUniversity of Georgia, but a bad knee injury and a roster that included Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb largely kept Marshall off the field. Last season as a senior he recorded just 68 carries in 11 games, though he did average more than five yards per carry. Looking over his college resume, Marshall impressed most as a freshman - before his knee injury - when he played 14 games, rushed for more than 750 yards and scored eight touchdowns. 

And, oh yeah, the speed.

Marshall ran a 4.31 40-yard-dash at the NFL Combine, the fastest time of any running back at the combine. And that's not all, Marshall also put up the top performance of any running back in the bench press, throwing up 225 lbs. 25 times. 

So yes, Marshall slid to the 7th round, a spot where prospects tend to face long odds of making the 53-man roster. But Marshall is not a typical 7th rounder. He was a highly recruited player out of high school and his measurables look to be off the charts.

Almost more importantly for Marshall, he is joining a team that has an opportunity at running back. While the Redskins look to be comfortable going into the season with second-year pro Matt Jones as their starter, with Silas Redd suspended for the year, the team does not have much depth. Veteran Chris Thompson will compete with Jones, but at 5'8", 193 lbs., Thompson likely cannot withstand the beating of an NFL runner. Thompson is tough - illustrated by playing through a myriad of injuries in 2015 - but the 'Skins will still need another runner to complement Jones. 

Could it be Marshall? That remains to be seen, but he has a chance if he can put it together on the field. For now, Gruden is not in a hurry to see it. 

"We just want to get him right," the coach said. "We held him back a little bit [Saturday]."

Considering Marshall's pedigree, speed and strength, it's smart for the Redskins to wait it out and truly see what the rookie RB is capable of doing. There's no need to push it, especially in May.

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As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper on Monday, and with that, alarms go off around the NFL that it's wheeling and dealing season. The trade deadline hits in one week, and for teams looking to bolster their squad before the second half of the year, it's time to see what areas could improve. 

For Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the injury situation at wide receiver means that his team could use help at the position. 

"We could probably use one more there if we could," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Asked if there was one area the team could bolster via trade, the coach explained that if wideouts Jamison Crowder or Paul Richardson could come back from injury right away, the Redskins would have no need to trade for another receiver. Unfortunately for the Redskins, neither injury situation is very clear, and some reports show that Crowder could miss a few more weeks working back from an ankle injury. 

"I think if you look at our team right now with the injuries to Crowder and obviously the uncertainty with Richardson you might want to add another receiver, but I like what [Michael] Floyd’s done coming in here," Gruden said. 

Floyd had one catch for 20 yards in the Redskins win on Sunday over the Cowboys, but he's a physical veteran that has the coach excited. Gruden also complimented what Maurice Harris and Brian Quick have done in the absence of Richardson and Crowder.

While the Cowboys struck first in the receiver trade market, more players remain reportedly available, including Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and Dolphins WR DeVante Parker. 

Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler in Denver, but at 30 years old and with some trade value, it makes sense for John Elway to consider his market. The Broncos are 3-4 and have an underperforming offense. 

Parker was a first-round pick in 2015 but has not had a 1,000-yard season in Miami. Making matters more complicated, Parker's agent Jimmy Gould called Dolphins head coach Adam Gase "incompetent" to a host of different media outlets. Parker has only been active twice this season though he contends health is not an issue. 

Gruden remains confident that 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson will get going, and he is a similar big target as Thomas and Parker. Should Richardson miss significant time, the Redskins would lack a true speed threat.

There's certainly no clear indication that Washington will make a move before the NFL trade deadline, but as things stand now with injuries, there is a need. Remember, too, the Redskins are long on 2019 draft picks with 10 selections in seven rounds.



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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of a playmaking wide receiver. The lack of talent at wide receiver has been evident throughout the first seven weeks of the 2018 NFL season, with wide receivers accounting for just five of the Cowboys' eight passing touchdowns.

Following the 20-17 loss to the Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys decided to make a quick fix, trading a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for star wide receiver Amari Cooper, according to multiple reports.

Cooper, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, has just 22 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown in the first six games. The former Alabama star had an equally disappointing 2017 campaign and has grown frustrated with his role in John Gruden's new regime.

Cooper will instantly become the Cowboys best deep threat and will allow Cole Beasley to shine both in the slot and spread out wide. Beasley leads the Cowboys with 33 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns.

Rookie Michael Gallup, who scored the Cowboys' only passing touchdown against the Redskins, has the second most targets among Dallas receivers, hauling in 10 of his 22 targets for 190 yards. Tight end Geoff Swaim has 19 catches for 205 yards and running back Ezekiel Elliott has 25 catches for 175 yards.

Prescott is averaging just 202.2 passing yards per game, and while Cooper may not be a true top-tier wide receiver, he is the next best thing and will allow the offense to be more dynamic in its play-calling.

Cooper will make an estimated $13.9 million in base salary in 2019, meaning the Cowboys will have to pay a pretty penny to keep him.

The move makes it clear that the Raiders are shifting toward a full rebuild. It also shows that Dallas understands it didn't have enough firepower to compete for a divisional title.